This article lists four compelling reasons to enlist the services of professional translators.
Reason 1: Your reputation is at stake.
If you want your business to project a 100% professional image, you simply cannot afford to work with translation vendors whose less-than-perfect attitude might tar your image. Although it may be nice to save some money by hiring someone with low rates, such savings are likely to be far outweighed by damage to your firm’s reputation in the long run. In extreme cases, you even risk being ridiculed. To avoid this, think like General Electric: At a certain point, GE gave up its air conditioner business for the simple reason that it could not control how its A/C units were installed by third-party installers in the field. GE did not want the shadow of installers’ poor customer service and incompetence cast on the company.
Reason 2: Time lost due to bad translations
If you buy cheap translation, you save money, but are likely to lose the equivalent of what you saved in time, or even more. Whereas a highly qualified translator delivers a final product, a cheap, incompetent translator often delivers raw translation that requires your input, such as formatting or editing. For example, a few years ago, a translation agency that I know sent an unformatted translation in Adobe InDesign to a client, because the project manager did not realize that this file format required heavy formatting after translation. As a result, the client’s reviewer made a lot of comments about formatting when he reviewed the file, and the client was unhappy with the agency’s unprofessional approach, to put it mildly.
Reason 3: Money wasted on poor translations
Buying cheap, low-quality translation often results in additional costs for rework, not to mention lost profits. For instance, one translation buyer purchased a translation of a marriage certificate from German into Russian from an agency. The authority to which the client submitted this translation rejected it due to several critical errors. The client had to re-do translation from scratch with another translation vendor, meaning that the first translation was a total waste of money.
Reason 4: Doing translation yourself
The same applies to doing translation yourself. Just because you know the target language does not necessarily mean you can translate into it well. A good example is the leaflet at the beginning of this blog post: a hotel’s managers thought they could translate this note into Russian themselves, but what they produced is riddled with errors, to the point of nonsense. Translation takes linguistic expertise, knowledge of translation technology, and years of experience. Without such background, you make errors and spend your time ineffectively. And remember that even one translation error might be enough to ruin what took weeks or even months to prepare.
Unless you have extensive knowledge in the field of translation, it is quite risky to engage cheap, unprofessional translators or do translation yourself. Working with professional translators—even if it means paying more—will spare you lost time, money, and stress.
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